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Banking cyber thieves may be too slick for their own good


(Reuters) — Fraudsters are slick and smooth when they request new bank accounts or credit cards — a characteristic an Israeli company wants to use against them.

Banks and other financial firms are coming under sustained attacks from increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals, forcing them to spend more money and resources trying to fight hackers.

The opening of fake accounts using stolen identities or details obtained from social media is one obvious trouble spot, with fraud typically only spotted weeks later.

Looking to tackle the problem, Tel Aviv-based Biocatch on Thursday launched a product which aims to use the efficiency of the hackers to catch them when they try to open accounts in retail banking, credit cards, on eCommerce or other sites.

Its concept is simple: fraudsters behave differently when opening a new account than a normal customer.

“(Fraudsters) experience surprising familiarity with the account opening process, their fluency patterns are distinctive, they have all the required information at hand and never spend time researching it, they do not bother with completing optional elements,” Biocatch said.

“The way they interact with specific fields can be very uncharacteristic when compared to the behavior and cognitive choices done by real users,” it said.

The new product aims to use behavioral biometrics to identify the wrongdoers.

Biocatch, formed in 2011 by experts in neural science research, machine learning and cyber security, is one of dozens of firms developing software to fight hackers.

Banks are among the most prominent and high profile victims of cyber attacks.

Criminals obtained details of 83 million clients from JPMorgan Chase last year, and Russian security firm Kaspersky last month said more than 100 banks had been raided by cyber criminals and $1 billion could have been stolen.

Banks are seen as vulnerable, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on cyber defenses, due to the potential financial gains and because their size, complexity and old IT systems can leave gaps.

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